What President Nelson’s example of optimism has taught LDSBC president during COVID-19 pandemic

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, LDS Business College President Bruce C. Kusch addressed the students, faculty and staff during the school’s regular Tuesday devotional on March 17 — this time over a livestream broadcast instead of in the Assembly Hall at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

“Devotionals for the next while will be a bit different,” he explained. “Nevertheless, I hope you will make watching devotional a regular part of your weekly worship.” As long as the Church-owned school remains restricted to online classes, livestream devotionals will consist of an opening prayer, a brief message from the speaker and a closing prayer, President Kusch added. 

“Even though the format will differ, I am confident the messages will be powerful and uplifting. Our personal preparation will contribute to the spiritual strength that we receive. I also hope you will keep your journal open and ready to record important spiritual impressions,” he said.

President John S. Tanner also addressed the BYU–Hawaii community Tuesday at the beginning of his school’s weekly devotional, conducted for the first time via livestream only: “I greet you today in the words of Paul to the Colossians. He said, ‘For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see the steadfastness of your faith in Christ’” (see Colossians 2:5).

President John S. Tanner addresses students during a livestreamed BYU–Hawaii devotional on March 17, 2020.
President John S. Tanner addresses students during a livestreamed BYU–Hawaii devotional on March 17, 2020. Credit: Monique Saenz, BYU–Hawaii

In a recent meeting about how Church-owned schools would respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Kusch said he observed a leader who was calm and positive.

President Russell M. Nelson “was happy, joyful and optimistic,” President Kusch said. “He greeted each of us by name and looked into our eyes with a sincere love and concern — one by one.”

He continued, “Challenging issues were discussed in our meeting, but there was no evidence of panic or fear — only a firm resolve for the welfare of our students, and to be responsible local and global citizens. As I watched this unfold, and observed four other prophets, seers and revelators counsel together, I was grateful to have it confirmed in my heart once again that ‘there are prophets in the land’” (see Ether 9:28).

President Bruce C. Kusch speaks at an LDS Business College devotional Tuesday, March 17. The devotional was livestreamed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
President Bruce C. Kusch speaks at an LDS Business College devotional Tuesday, March 17. The devotional was livestreamed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Screenshot, LDS Business College devotional

Referencing the Book of Mormon story about King Limhi and the 24 Jaredite plates, President Kusch shared Ammon’s words about the power of a seer and prophet: “A seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known. 

“Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings” (Mosiah 8:17-18).

“We are truly living in the latter days,” President Kusch said. “We are blessed beyond measure to be led by living prophets — especially President Russell M. Nelson, whom we sustain as the prophet, seer and revelator chosen by the Savior to lead His Church under His direction at this time.”

President Kusch related a story from a Church leader who had recently been called as a General Authority when someone planted a bomb in front of the Salt Lake Temple. The explosion knocked the temple door off its hinges.

“The episode was chilling to him and created an anxiety and discomfort, … even a fear that lasted all day long,” President Kusch said. However, to this leader’s surprise, the incident was not mentioned in any of his meetings with other General Authorities that day.

An LDS Business College student offers a prayer during a livestream devotional featuring President Bruce C. Kusch on Tuesday, March 17. The devotional was livestreamed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
An LDS Business College student offers a prayer during a livestream devotional featuring President Bruce C. Kusch on Tuesday, March 17. The devotional was livestreamed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Screenshot, LDS Business College devotional

When he finally asked one of the senior brethren about it at the end of the day, his fellow leader replied, “Yes, we need to get that fixed, don’t we?”

“Then he added this important principle, one that will help each of us to be steadfast and immovable as we move into ever more troublesome days ahead: ‘We do not take counsel from our fears,’” President Kusch said.

“There are four words the Savior has used on repeated occasions in giving counsel to the faithful: ‘Be of good cheer.’ Each of us can take comfort from those words knowing He is always near.”

President Tanner related an experience his wife, Sister Susan W. Tanner, had when she was serving as Young Women general president. “Susan had a remarkable spiritual experience while listening to the prophet speak to the Church at general conference,” he said. “She felt the very walls of the Conference Center melting away as the Spirit touched and united the members of the Church worldwide.

“Later, she was visiting with a group of sisters in Yekaterinburg, Russia, who expressed their longing to come to Salt Lake and be in the Conference Center. And Susan told them of this experience and assured them that they could be there in the Conference Center through the Spirit. This is my hope and prayer for you today as I share my aloha across the miles.”

Livestream devotionals from Brigham Young University, BYU–Hawaii, BYU–Idaho and LDSBC will be available online weekly while instruction at each school continues remotely.